The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Healthcare Reform cares for students

While there are many opinions about the effect of the new healthcare overhaul, there is one group that greatly benefited when President Obama signed the Healthcare Reform legislation into law on March 23—college students.
There are several aspects of the bill that not only improve the health insurance situation for students but also alleviate the strain of rising college costs.

Formerly, students were dropped from their parents’ health insurance plans at the age of 18 unless they were continuing their education. Upon graduating from college, those students would then lose their coverage, leaving them to not only pay for things such as graduate school and possible relocation costs but their insurance costs as well.

Starting in August, regardless of enrollment in higher education or marital status, people will be able to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans until the age of 26.

This new law will allow Grinnellians greater freedom in choosing what to do after college. With the economy still recovering, the partial relief of a large financial burden is crucial for many students still looking for employment. Further, students interested in doing service work after college will no longer be burdened with unaffordable insurance costs.

In addition to the health care benefits, the overhaul also contains the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, which will alter how students receive their aid and the amount and time period that accompany the aid.

First, student loans will no longer come through banks. Instead, starting July 1, 2010, students will receive grants directly from the government, which allows the government to lower certain restrictions. The window for repaying loans will now be lowered from 25 years to 20, with loans being forgiving thereafter.

Also, starting July 1, 2014, monthly payments on student loans will be lowered to 10 percent of discretionary income from the current 15 percent. Unfortunately for many of us, this only applies to loans taken after the date, but prospective students coming to Grinnell can look forward to saving a greater amount of their income post-graduation.

Most importantly, the maximum Pell Grant will increase from the current $5,550 to $5,900, allowing more low and middle-income Americans to attend college.

That being said, the actual cost of the legislation will not be known for a long time, so while projections show a reduction of the deficit, many are afraid that our generation will have to pay for this legislation later.
So while the verdict is still out on the overall effects of the bill, it appears that college-aged Americans will now be able to save on costs and have greater choice in following their career paths—a welcome relief to the world of rising college costs and uncertainty.

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